Saturday, November 17, 2007

The link between income inequality and children's well-being ...

... in rich countries. The link is pretty strong -- strong enough for someone to comment that "relative poverty kills as effectively as any disease." Here's the news story [link via Mark Thoma].

Among the 23 rich countries, the UNICEF index of child wellbeing (covering material wellbeing, health and safety, educational wellbeing, family and peer relationships, unhealthy and risky behaviours, and subjective wellbeing) was unrelated to average income, but was strongly related to the size of the income differences between rich and poor within each country.

Findings were similar among the 50 states of the USA. Data were analysed for teenage births, juvenile homicides, infant mortality, low birth weight, educational performance, high school drop-out rate, the proportion of children overweight, and mental health problems. All were more strongly related to the scale of income inequality in each state than to its average income.